Genre Buzz

Contact Improvisation

Contact improvisation (CI) is a dance technique in which points of physical contact provide the starting point for exploration through movement improvisation. Contact Improvisation is a form of dance improvisation and is one of the best-known and most characteristic forms of postmodern dance.

For more information on Contact Improvisation please click here for Steps, the Dance Parade Newsletter.



Aerial Dance

Aerial modern dance is a sub-genre of modern dance first recognized in the United States in the 1970s. The choreography incorporates an apparatus often attached to the ceiling, allowing performers to explore space in three-dimensions. The ability to incorporate vertical, as well as horizontal movement paths, allows for innovations in choreography and movement vocabulary.

Aerial modern pieces, whether solo or ensemble, often involve partnering. The apparatus used has its own motion, which changes the way a dancer must move in response. The introduction of a new element changes the dancer’s balance, center, and orientation in space.

Aerial modern dancers gather annually at the Aerial Dance Festival in Boulder, Colorado since its inception in July 1999. Here, workshops, performances, and discussions bring together dancers, gymnasts, circus artists, and other aerial enthusiasts to showcase their own works and learn about new developments in technique and technology.

An early influence on aerial modern dance, Terry Sendgraff, is credited with inventing the “motivity” trapeze. Terry Sendgraff actively performed, choreographed and taught in the San Francisco Bay Area from the early ‘70s until announcing her retirement in 2005, at the age of 70.

The motivity trapeze came about as a result of an exploration on a low-hung circus trapeze. The ropes twisted together, causing the apparatus to spin. By formalizing this, hooking both ropes to a single point of attachment, Ms. Sendgraff used the apparatus to spin, twist, as well as fly in a straight line and in a circle.

Another example of aerial modern dance are the site-specific works of Joanna Haigood of the Zaccho Dance Theatre, and Amelia Rudolph of “Project Bandaloop”. Rudolph’s work is based on careful research of the history, architecture and societal impact of found spaces, and the translation of these memories into the movements performed in that space.

Project Bandaloop combines rock-climbing with dance in performances that scale and/or descend canyons, rock walls, and tall buildings across the world. Video of their outdoor work is sometimes integrated into indoor performances, projected onto screens or trampolines behind the dancers on stage. Enjoy this video of their work.

View more dance videos on Video Dance TV.

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Site Specific Dance

Aerial Dance & Trapeze

There is no regular amateur communities of aerial dancers. Nevertheless some people do on suitable parties where there are appropriate objects for climbing like dance or climb poles or stages dances with elements of aerial dance. As these form of dances are dangerous and possibly destructive, such dances are nearly always forbidden. Other forms of aerial dance practised by amateurs are non-erotic tabledances where someone dances on multiple tables or similar objects without touching the ground or where the act of getting on or off the stage or table is part of the dance or dances performed on objects the dancer climbed on before.

Genre Buzz Source: Excerpts from Wikipedia

More about Dance Genre Buzz:

Each month, a new dance style is celebrated. View videos and learn about the heritage and history of different dance styles. Discover innovators of the dance, trends, variations, and current events for each dance genre featured.

Participate in Dance Genre Buzz:

Help Dance Parade New York support the dance community. Share information on each dance style we feature, including dance classes, events, competitions, and other productions, such as film and video productions. Teachers, participants, and enthusiasts are welcome to share their network and experience with our audience to support dance education, online and on the dance floor!

By, Dawn Paap

Contra Dance

Contra Dancing at Dance Parade event January 2011

Contra dance refers to several partnered folk dance styles in which couples dance in two facing lines of indefinite length.  A fundamental aspect of contra dancing is that the same dance, one time through which lasts roughly 30 seconds, is repeated over and over-but each time you dance with new neighbors.

Sometimes described as New England folk dance, contra dances can be found around the world, though they are especially popular in North America.

At the end of the 17th century, English country dances were taken up by French dancers; hybrid choreographies exist from this period using the steps from French court dance in English dances. The French called these dances contra-dance or contredanse. As time progressed, English country dances were spread and reinterpreted throughout the Western world, and eventually the French form of the name came to be associated with the American folk dances, especially in New England.

Contra dance choreography specifies the dance formation, the figures, and the sequence of those figures in a dance. Notably, contra dance figures (with a few exceptions) do not have defined footwork; within the limits of the music and the comfort of their fellow dancers, individuals move according to their own taste.

Most contra dances consist of a sequence of about six to twelve individual figures, prompted by the caller in time to the music as the figures are danced. As the sequence repeats, the caller may cut down his or her prompting, and eventually drop out, leaving the dancers to each other and the music.

The most common contra dance music is rooted in the Anglo-Celtic tradition as it developed in North America. Irish, Scottish, French Canadian, and Old-time tunes are common, and Klezmer tunes have also been used.  Source: Excerpts from Wikipedia.

View this wonderful Contra Dance Documentary to learn more about the culture, experience, and movement style from Contra dancers.  Enjoy!


More about Dance Genre Buzz:

Each month, a new dance style is celebrated.  View videos and learn about the heritage and history of different dance styles.  Discover innovators of the dance, trends, variations, and current events for each dance genre featured.

Participate in Dance Genre Buzz:

Help Dance Parade New York support the dance community.  Share information on each dance style we feature, including dance classes, events, competitions, and other productions, such as film and video productions.  Teachers, participants, and enthusiasts are welcome to share their network and experience with our audience to support dance education, online and on the dance floor!

By, Dawn Paap



Celebrating the Waacking style of street dance
The dance style called Waacking involves fast and dynamic movements of the arms, which resemble the wrist roll in locking but more exaggerated and extended.  This style of dance also incorporates sharp angular poses, which is called Voguing, a style commonly done together with Waacking.  Essentially, I like to think of waacking as elements of jazz dance combined with locking because of the distinct arm actions and styling involved.

This dance video features the styling combination of voguing and waacking.  Enjoy!

The roots of the Waacking style of street dance traces back to gay and nightclub cultures. In the United States, at gay nightclubs, male performers dressed as women and performed to female songs on stage. Movements of the performers were so creative that it was only a matter of time before Waacking made its way into mainstream nightclubs, as a way of the dancefloor and earned its approval amongst other sexualities, especially straight. Waacking is often wrongly considered a style of House dance.


Disco Music was the perfect vehicle for Waacking, with its driving rhythms and hard beats. In the early 1970s in Los Angeles, dancer Lamont Peterson was one of the first to start using his arms and body to the music. Dancers such as Mickey Lord, Tyrone Proctor and Blinky fine tuned the arms movements, by making the arms and hands go fast to the driving disco beat. During the mid 1970s club dancers Tinker, Arthur, Andrew, Lonnie Carbajal, Michael Angelo, Billy Starr, Billy Goodson, Danny Logo, took center stage with others dancers perfecting those synchronize syncopated movements.

At the time Waacking was primarily a gay Black and Latino dance. Many people mistakenly believe that “Waacking” came from “Locking” because some of the movements are very similar. The Gay community is solely responsible for the creation of Waacking style of dance. Waacking and Locking do have some similarities but they are different dances. Waacking is the original name of the dance. Punking is a name set forth by the non gay community that mixed in movements from locking. Some Locking style dance instructors eventually started to teach Punking classes also. Many new dancers assumed that it it was part of the Locking style.

The name “Waacking” originated from The Soul Train Dancer Tyrone Proctor and Jeffrey Daniel’s of the Outrageous Waack Dancer’s in 1972 themselves (Because of the thrusting of the arms). “Garbo” is another name given to the dance by Andrew because of the posing he did (like the pictures of the glamour women of the 40’s) Arthur, Andrew and Tinker danced sometime on Soul Train. While working with Toni Basil, (An Original Locker). Andrew, Arthur, Tinker, Lonnie, and Billy landed the Diana Ross show in Las Vegas.

The difference between “Waacking” and “Voguing” is “Waacking” became popular in the early 70’s on the West Coast. “Waacking” is mostly done to Disco Music. “Voguing” became popular in the late 70’s on the East Coast.”Voguing” is done to mostly House music.

Over 35 years “Waacking” is still going strong with the help of dancers like Tyrone “The Bone” Proctor, Adolfo “Shabbadoo” Quninones, Jody Watley, Anna “Lollipop” Sanchez, Brian “Footwork” Green, Angel and Tyrone’s Son Aus Spottedeagle A.K.A Aus “Ninja” Omni, and Samara Lockerooo just to name a few. When the Gay Community moved on from “Waacking” these were some of the people who help keep this Dance form alive for more than 35 years.

By Dawn Paap


is a form of music and dance that originated in the Punjab region of India and Pakistan.  Bhangra dance began as a folk dance conducted by Punjabi farmers to celebrate the coming of Vaisakhi, a Punjabi festival. The specific moves of Bhangra reflect the manner in which villagers farmed their land. This musical art further became synthesized after the partition of India, when refugees from different parts of the Punjab shared their folk dances with individuals who resided in the regions they settled in. This hybrid dance became Bhangra. The folk dance has been popularised in the Western World by South Asian communities and is seen in the West as an expression of Indian and Pakistani culture as a whole.


Today, Bhangra dance survives in different forms and styles all over the globe – including pop music, film soundtracks, collegiate competitions and even talent shows.

No particular form of dress is indicated for Bhangra. For maintaining unifromity, the dancers wear shirts with loose sleeves, stiff-starched long-cloth tahmats (loose loin cloth reaching up to the ankles) and bright black, red, green or yellow waist-coasts. A bright strip over the turban is often regarded as a must. Tiny bells are sometimes tied over the ankles.

Bhangra is danced to the accompaniment of dhol and rhythmic clapping. The drummer stands at the centre and the dancers stand in a circle around him. At the beat of the drum, they proceed first with a slow movement of the feet then a rhythmic wriggling of the body and after the shaking of the shoulders they start strutting in rhythm. The tempo increases as the beat of the drum becomes more and more exciting. The physical movements in twist and turn take the drumming and dance to a fine climax.

As many Bhangra lyrics reflect the long and often tumultuous history of the Punjab, knowledge of Punjabi history offers important insights into the meaning of the music. While Bhangra began as a part of harvest festival celebrations, it eventually became a part of such diverse occasions as weddings and New Year celebrations. Moreover, during the last thirty years, Bhangra has enjoyed a surge in popularity worldwide, both in traditional form and as a fusion with genres such as hip-hop, house, and reggae. As Bhangra continues to move into mainstream culture, an understanding of its history and tradition helps to appreciate it.